Belgian police on Thursday raided Catholic church offices in Brussels searching for evidence of child sex abuse by priests. The Vatican called it a "shock," because priests only answer to a Higher Authority. The laws of mortals do not apply.
During the search police detained members of the Belgian Bishops' Conference for nine hours, picked through their offices, and drilled into the tombs of two cardinals inside the Brussels Cathedral. The Vatican called the tomb searches a "violation," and the archbishop of Belgium Andre-Joseph Leonard said the raid was "worthy of The Da Vinci Code." On Friday the Vatican issued a formal complaint to the Belgian ambassador to the church.
A spokesman for the Belgian Bishops' Conference said in a statement that "It was not a pleasant experience, but everything was handled very correctly," in the raid. The group also said the raid, which provided police with documents related to sex abuse cases, "went against the right to privacy" of the victims. See, the church is showing that it is far more concerned with the rights of sex abuse victims than protecting criminals. Details of the raid from the New York Times:
On Thursday, the authorities also seized materials from the home of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop Leonard's predecessor, and took all the computers from the church's finance department, Mr. de Beukelaer said.
In the Cathedral of Mechelen north of Brussels, the police drilled into the tomb of Cardinal Jozef-Ernest Van Roey, and Cardinal Léon-Josef Suenens, two former archbishops of Mechelen-Brussels, and used cameras to look for documents, Mr. de Beukelaer said.
In the statement, the Vatican said its secretary of state "expressed great stupor at the way in which the seizures were conducted yesterday by Belgian authorities and indignation at the fact that two tombs were violated."
The Vatican can have a secretary of state, and countries have ambassadors to the church, but when it comes down to the rule of law, well, no one should ever question the Holy See.
[Image via Getty]